In Memory

Pat Colyer (Recovery) - Class of 1996 VIEW PROFILE

Pat Colyer (Recovery)


Pat Colyer

1933 - 2011


MISSOULA - A last waltz is playing for Pat Colyer, who passed away peacefully at home on Monday, May 23, 2011, with his large and loving family at his side.

Born on July 21, 1933, in Paradise, Pat was the youngest child of Franklin and Beatrice (Teeter) Colyer. Pat spoke fondly of his youth, and delighted his family with stories from that time.

On his 19th birthday, Pat married Shirley Oberst at St. James Church in Plains. That summer day was the beginning of a full and rich union of 59 years. 

Pat and Shirley lived in the Plains and Paradise area early in their marriage, where they started their family and Pat worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. In 1958, they moved to Missoula, and Pat began a 38-year career at the Frenchtown linerboard mill, then owned by Waldorf Paper Products Co. Over time, he held a variety of positions, both in labor and management, and was humbled by the confidence his employers placed in him. Pat felt great empathy for the Smurfit-Stone employees who were affected by the mill closure in 2010.

At their home on Sherwood Street, the family continued to grow to 11 children. The youngest one was barely in before the oldest one moved out. Of course the house was a flurry of activity, but Pat and Shirley kept it all together. Imagine a household of over a dozen, half of who were girls, and only one bathroom! Pat and Shirley were active in St. Francis Xavier Elementary and Loyola-Sacred Heart High School while their children were students, and remain active members of St. Francis Xavier Parish. The Colyers later moved to the Rattlesnake Valley and the present family home.

Music was Pat's passion. As a teenager, he taught himself to play the fiddle and guitar. He became a lifelong member of the Montana Fiddlers, and spent many a Sunday afternoon at "fiddle jams" in western Montana. He was a Montana State Fiddle Contest champion, and collected many trophies over the years. During his retirement, Pat and his band shared the gift of music with others by playing at private events, as well as at the local senior centers and hospitals. Pat's music lives on in a series of CDs, and his passing is certainly a loss for the western Montana music community.

Pat was able to enjoy his retirement years by traveling to see his family, as well as adventuring abroad in Ireland, Germany and Italy. However, his greatest joy was spending time at Flathead Lake, hosting friends and family for special summer fun at the cabin.

Pat will be best remembered for his quick wit and humor, and a seemingly endless supply of one-liners that kept everyone around him smiling and laughing. Few have mastered the timing of a well-delivered punch line like Pat did.

Pat was "Uncle Pat" before he was born and is survived by 20 nieces and nephews on his side of the family, as well as 10 nieces and nephews on Shirley's side, along with their children and grandchildren. He also leaves sisters-in-law Audrey Larson and Mary Beth Hulquist; and brothers-in-law Alfred and George Oberst.

Pat is directly survived by his wife, Shirley; five sons, five daughters and 28 grandchildren. His sons and their families are Jim and his wife Marcy and their children Caelan, Jon and Reagan Colyer; Mark and his sons Ross and Austin Colyer; Ken (Mill Controller) and his wife Sue and their sons Mitchell, Lane and Evan Colyer; Michael and his wife Susan and their children Jack and Kathleen Colyer; and Brendan and his wife Kristen and their sons Sean and Nicholas Colyer. Pat's daughters and their families are Janis and her husband Eric Stojkov and their daughters Ellen and Shannon Stojkov and Erin Harrison; Marcia and her husband Jon Montgomery and their children Keely, Gretchen, Claire and Rhett Montgomery; Kathleen and her husband Terry Absec and their daughters Betsy and Bridget Absec and Bethany Deschamps; Mary and her husband David Johnson and their children Courtney, Catherine and Andrew Johnson; and Megan and her husband Kraig Kosena and their children Elizabeth, Quincy and Patrick Kosena.

Pat was preceded in death by his parents; three siblings who died in infancy; brothers Bud and Jerry Colyer; sisters Hellece Kelly, Manilia Steele and Charlotte Hermiston; daughter Marella; and granddaughter Michaela.

The family would like to thank all of those too numerous to mention who assisted in Dad's health care in recent months, especially the most devoted and special caregiver of all, Mom, to whom we are eternally grateful.

Cremation has taken place. Services were held at St. Francis Xavier Church, which included a vigil service at 7 p.m. Monday, May 30; and a memorial Mass at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 31.

Contributions in Pat's name may be made to the St. Francis Xavier stained glass restoration project, Partners Hospice, the American Diabetes Association or the charity of one's choice.

Arrangements were under the direction of Livingston Malletta and Geraghty Funeral Home.

Rest in peace dear friend.

Click here to see Pat's last Profile entry.